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Old 01-28-2009   #1
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Dino Buzzati



Dino Buzzati Traverso (October 16, 1906 - January 28, 1972) was an Italian novelist, short story writer, painter and poet, as well as a journalist for Corriere della Sera. His worldwide fame is mostly due to his novel 'Il deserto dei Tartari', translated into English as The Tartar Steppe.

Buzzati was born at San Pellegrino near Belluno, in his family's ancestral villa. Buzzati's mother, a veterinarian by profession, was Venetian and his father, a professor of international law, was from an ancient Bellunese family. Buzzati was the second of his parents' four children. In 1924, he enrolled in the law faculty of the University of Milan, where his father once taught. As he was completing his studies in law, he was hired, at the age of 22, by the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera, where he would remain until his death. He began in the corrections department, and later worked as a reporter, special correspondent, essayist, editor and art critic. It is often said that his journalistic background informs his writing, lending even the most fantastic tales an aura of realism.

Buzzati himself comments on the connection (as cited by Lawrence Venuti):

It seems to me, fantasy should be as close as possible to journalism. The right word is not "banalizing", although in fact a little of this is involved. Rather, I mean that the effectiveness of a fantastic story will depend on its being told in the most simple and practical terms.

During World War II, Buzzati served in Africa, as a journalist attached to the Regia Marina. After the end of the war, Il deserto dei Tartari was published Italy-wide and quickly brought critical recognition and fame to the author. He married Almeria Antoniazzi in 1964, which also marked the release of his last novel, Un amore. In 1972, Buzzati died of cancer after a protracted illness.

Buzzati began writing fiction in 1933. His works of fiction include five novels, theatre and radio plays, librettos, numerous books of short stories and poetry.

He wrote a children's book La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia (translated by Frances Lobb into English as The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily). Lemony Snicket wrote an introduction and reader's companion to a 2005 English edition.

Also an acclaimed and exhibited artist, Buzzati also combined his artistic and writerly exploits into making a comic book based on the myth of Orpheus, Poema a fumetti.

The Tartar Steppe, his most famous novel, tells the story of a military outpost that awaits a Tartar invasion. In its sentiment and its conclusions, it has been compared to existentialist works, notably Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus.

His writing is sometimes cited as magical realism, social alienation, and the fate of the environment and of fantasy in the face of unbridled technological progress are recurring themes. He has also written a variety of short stories featuring fantastic animals such as the bogeyman and, his own invention, the colomber (il colombre).

* Bārnabo delle montagne (Barnabo of the Mountains, 1933)
* Il segreto del Bosco Vecchio (1935)
* Il deserto dei Tartari (The Tartar Steppe, 1940)
* I Sette Messaggeri (The Seven Messengers, 1942 - Short stories)
* La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia (The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily, 1945)
* Il grande ritratto (1960)
* Un amore (A Love Affair, 1963)
* Il capitano Pic e altre poesie (1965, poetry)
* Il colombre (1966, Short stories)


http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/8892/indexe.html

(Dictated while taking a stroll) I have come to realizewhat a superbly contrived marionette man is. Though without strings attached, one can strut, jump, hop and, moreover, utter words, an elaborately made puppet! Who knows? At the Bon season next year, I may be a new dead invited to the Bon festival. What an evanescent world! This truth keeps slipping off our minds.

- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure
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Old 01-28-2009   #2
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Re: Dino Buzzati

Buzzati is a true genius,and 'The Tartar Steppe' is a haunting and terrifingly beautiful masterpiece about the passing of time and the slow dissolution of the dreams and illusions that sustain our lives.There's something slightly 'Kafkaesque' (to use that terrible term) about the book,but personally I believe Buzatti is the greater writer because he confronts the meaninglessness of human existence more directly and honestly than Kafka.In the latter,the paranoia and sense of hostile unseen forces at work generate a kind of meaning to the protagonists' lives,but in 'The Tartar Steppe', there is nothing but the dribbling away of life,lost in time's meandering,but merciless and futile passage.

I've only been able to find 'The Tartar Steppe' in English,but if anyone's read any other of Buzatti's work,I'd love to hear about it.
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Old 01-28-2009   #3
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Re: Dino Buzzati

I was fortunate enough to find a copy of his short stories in my school's library (U.W. Madison). I think it was called Catastrophe. One tale still stands out for me: The Alarming Tale of a Household Pet (I think that's the title). Track it down if you can, you'll be well rewarded.
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Old 01-28-2009   #4
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Re: Dino Buzzati

Quote Originally Posted by waffles View Post
The Alarming Tale of a Household Pet (I think that's the title).
Fiddlesticks! Yet another perfect title for my autobiography has already been taken.

"Like a dog!" he said; it was as if the shame of it must outlive him. - Franz Kafka, The Trial
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Old 01-28-2009   #5
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Re: Dino Buzzati

Quote Originally Posted by Spotbowserfido2 View Post
Quote Originally Posted by waffles View Post
The Alarming Tale of a Household Pet (I think that's the title).
Fiddlesticks! Yet another perfect title for my autobiography has already been taken.
You could always call it The Real Alarming Tale of a Household Pet.
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Old 01-30-2009   #6
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Re: Dino Buzzati

A deep sense of futility is imbued in his works, especially his subtly surreal, fantastic short fiction. A consciousness of the meaningless of all human endeavour, tempered by some touch of dark humor...






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Old 05-10-2017   #7
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Re: Dino Buzzati

I finished reading The Tartar Steppe today. A beautiful and devastating book about time and futility and delusion and the destruction of dreams. The parallels between Buzzati's novel, Kafka [ "There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe...but not for us"] and the existentialists are obvious. But this text about a perpetually deferred solution to an impossible problem also reminded me of a favorite poem of mine, one I had not read in a while: Cavafy's Waiting for the Barbarians.

And as Malone wrote, The Tartar Steppe is truly haunting. It seems wildly improbable that hope and habit would conspire to divest Drogo's life of all chance for happiness and love and achievement, but have we all not known such men, men who waste their lives believing that their destiny is always about to manifest? I think that Drogo is not just waiting for an enemy he will never confront, but for meaning in his long years of vigil on the ramparts of Fort Bastiani, a meaning that the life he has chosen will never produce.

I very highly recommend the book and I will be seeking the rest of Buzzati's work.

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